Pre-Production 2019 BMW X7 Starts Rolling Off Spartanburg Assembly Line
South Carolina Facility to Build Fullsize Luxury SUV
BMW is starting the march toward series production of the 2019 X7 luxury SUV, first previewed by the Concept X7 iPerformance in September. The first pre-production examples of the fullsize, seven-seat Bimmer started rolling off the company’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, assembly facility last week, in preparation for the vehicle’s official debut about a year from now.
BMW calls the X7 a “Sports Activity Vehicle,” echoing the branding applied to the subcompact X1, compact X3, and midsize X5. As its name indicates, the X7 will be the largest SAV in the company’s stable, with three rows of seating and a more upright form factor than the one-size-down X5. Based on the deliberately oblique photos BMW released with its pre-production announcement, it looks like the company's biggest offering will retain most of the styling cues found on the Concept X7 iPerformance, including the unusually snouty kidney grilles and wide lower air intake. It's a unique look for a BMW crossover, and we dig it based on what we can see.
The pre-production examples being built right now in Spartanburg will be evaluated to ensure the facility's quality and troubleshooting standards are up to snuff. Others will be used to homologate the big crossover with government authorities, including crash testing and vehicle component certification. And finally, prototype X7s will be destined for extreme-weather and altitude testing in Death Valley, Scandinavia, and other locations.
BMW Group Spartanburg has been producing vehicles for the North American and global markets in 1994, and around 70 percent of its current production is exported to other countries. The company claims that it is the largest vehicle exporter in the U.S. as measured by export value, thanks in part to the global popularity of BMW’s X-Series crossovers. Currently, Spartanburg produces the X3, X4, X5, and X6, employing more than 9,000 people. With the arrival of the X7, BMW anticipates adding 1,000 jobs to the facility by 2021.